Who is My Antagonist?
reader asked me how I discover my antagonist when creating a story. The short
answer is discovering the bad guy or guys is as much a surprise to me as the
characters and the reader.
writing routine is packed with organization, discipline, and schedules, so the
idea of plotting by the seat of my pants may be a little difficult to
writer has a method of establishing a story. Mine is all based on creating an
adventure for readers. How can I send readers down a suspenseful path unless I
experience it myself?
figure out my antagonist, I must first know my protagonist. Since I’m a character-driven,
organic writer, everything rises from a three-dimensional character who will be
my hero or heroine. My storyline churns from a what-if scenario. From there I
spend hours, weeks, sometimes months creating the who and why a character is
the only one to play a hero's role.
process moves from a basic idea about the protagonist to a multi-page
characterization sketch where I complete exercises and questions. My sketch has
grown and been fine-tuned through two decades of writing. The goal is to learn
the personality, backstory, goals, wants, needs, strengths, weaknesses,
triumphs, failures, and the motivation propelling the character into action.
does this have to do with the antagonist? I complete the same characterization
sketch for my bad guy, discovering the motivation behind his/her actions and
behavior. The difference is developing a character who has strengths in areas
where my protagonist is weak, and to give the antagonist an edge on how to
defeat the protagonist.
to show my antagonist:
to be the bad guy
attributes of charm, wealth, ability to manipulate others, and/or extreme
the antagonist insists upon keeping his/her identity hidden, I have two
a synopsis from the antagonist’s POV that shows superiority and a victory over
at the story backward to find who is working behind the scenes.
are times when I must let my story rest for a few days until I figure out the
who and why. But discovering the antagonist is always an adventure.
do you discover an antagonist when creating your story?
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.
is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member
of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, and
International Thriller Writers. She continues her passion for helping other
writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing
workshops around the country. Connect with DiAnn on her various social media
platforms here: www.diannmills.com